Posts tagged “Canadiens”

Wings 2, Canadiens 7

I’m going to go Babcock’s route and throw this one out without my typical recap format.

In any given season, there are plenty of losses where we can say it was a throwaway game. Sometimes, the loss circles back around to being worthy of getting angry about or whatever, but much of the time, bad losses are outliers with this team. I have to think this is one of those games.

The biggest reason is this:

The second point in there is mildy disturbing (obviously, the ideal is that the Wings would be focused all the time, but that’s unreasonable), but still valid. Apart from Jimmy and Pavel, these guys are finally going to get a chance to be with their families without feeling rushed. Their human as much as they are professional so if they got caught looking ahead, so be it.

The other factor is the absence of Nick Lidstrom. Not in the “oh crap what are we going to do when he retires?” way, but in the “oh crap he’s sick on short notice and we have no one better to plug in than Mike Commodore I hope we can cover that gap” way. Lidstrom being out of the lineup on such short notice was going to have an effect that rippled down the lineup. And so it did.

And no, it’s not a preview of things to come. When Nick retires, the team will have the bulk of an offseason to prepare in ways ranging from gunning for free agent defensemen to re-scheming the way they play. No doubt there will be a drop off, but if they can win the Suter sweepstakes this year (for sake of argument), it won’t be to 7-2 losses in Montreal levels. Even if they don’t get a Suter, it shouldn’t be.

Anyway. If the Wings pick up in Calgary on Tuesday where they left off in Montreal last night, then I’ll be concerned. This one gets tossed out otherwise.

Babcock Post-Game

Via Dave Stubbs (@habsinsideout1). Some real Babcockian gems in there. My favorites:

Game Day Notes: @ Montreal

Update (6:32 PM):

Great. As Kulfan notes, he must be pretty sick. – Matt

Update (12:49 PM): Apparently, we do have a change:

Good news on Stuart, but the Commodore/Kindl switch makes me wonder why we can’t get a Mursak/Emmerton one.

Also, there’s this:

– Matt

… This is the only  meeting between the Wings and Habs this season. The all-time series stands at 230-303-96 from the Wings’ perspective. Here’s hoping they can climb a game closer to .500 tonight.

… The Canadiens are in the middle of a sub-par season by historical standards, having posted an 18-21-9 record through 48 games. That puts them in fourth place in the Northeast and 10 points out of the playoffs.

… They’re not off to a great start to 2012, with a 4-3-2 record since January 1, but they’re coming off a 3-1 win over Toronto on Saturday. That came the night after losing 5-4 to Pittsburgh in a shootout.

… The word for the Canadiens’ season this year has been drama, between firing an assistant coach in October and a head coach last month, and pulling Mike Cammalleri out of a game due to a trade. It’s kinda fun to watch.

… The leading scorer for the Habs is Erik Cole, who’s put up 36 points so far this year. Max Pacioretty’s 33 are second. Those two have put the puck in the net 18 and 16 times respectively. Third on the team in goals is Rene Bourque, who was part of the Cammalleri deal and put most of his pucks in the net while with Calgary.

… The D-man they lean on the most is young PK Subban, who’s 23:55 TOI/G leads the team by a good minute. Apparently, it’s a big story that he was yelled at in practice yesterday.

… Montreal will be without Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov, Petteri Nokeleinen and Ryan White. It looks like Scott Gomez skipped out on the optional skate this morning because he’s sick, but he’s supposedly going to play. Travis Moen is out.

… Carey Price will be in net for the Habs.

… The Wings are coming off a 3-1 over the Blues in which they solidified their hold on the Central Division lead. The Blues losing in a shootout and the Hawks losing in regulation didn’t change much. Except that they now have to keep an eye on the Predators, who moved up to third in the Central above Chicago.

… Hab writer Stu Hackel has a very complimentary preview of the Wings’ side of this game here.

… Possibly big lineup news: Nick Lidstrom’s a game-time decision after leaving the skate early due to sickness.

… No word yet on any other possible lineup changes, but there is good news on the Stuart front: he was on the ice this morning. Assuming that means he’s good to go and if Babcock’s back in a winning lineup mode after his brief dabbling in a rotation, there should be no change, pending the Lidstrom decision.

… Jimmy Howard will be in net.

… The Wings have a pretty good thing going here with a 7-streak on top of their home success. Now they need to carry that on the road for a bit, starting tonight. The Habs are struggling, but waltzing into Montreal counting on that continuing tonight would be foolish. They need the points to maintain their lead and to get them, they’ll need to be on top of their game.

… Again, a reminder: tune in early tonight if you can to catch Nick on NHL 36. Here’s hoping it’s not the only time we see him tonight.

Wings 4, Canadiens 2

Getting On Track: I think this game goes a long way in contributing to that effort, at least offensively and in net. The Wings were scary good with the puck in the Montreal end at times and got some really, really strong goaltending out of Jimmy when they needed it. They were missing that during the skid, so it’s good to see those things back in hand again. Unfortunately, they’re still lacking some of the things you’d like to see in the defensive game, not to mention continuity over the course of the game, but they stopped the skid, so it’s mostly good.

Goalie Duel: As Petrella pointed out, don’t let the final score fool you. We were treated to a real serious goaltending duel last night, between two of the best young goalies in the League. When the Wings were on offensively, Price held them off for the most part or else the score would have been racked up. Then when the Canadiens controlled the third, Jimmy kept it from being some kind of run-and-gun shootout. Great stuff.

Eaves: Fitting that he had the empty net goal, I thought. He seemed to be involved in offensive opportunities all night. Great game from him, so here’s hoping he’s not the scratch tonight.

Discipline: The Habs are a talented team with some great goaltending, but they looked really undisciplined last night. Five straight penalties from the first to the second? That’s absurd. And a couple of them were of the really stupid variety, like Plekanec’s slash on Rafalski while the Wings were already on the power play. I don’t know if that’s how they play all the time, but it can’t be helpful to their long term success prospects.

Speaking Of…: Plekanec. He lightly collided with Rafalski in open ice in the first period and collapsed to the ice like he’d been shot. Seriously I don’t know what he was thinking there. Hip to hip, not all that crushing at all, and play was stopped and trainers came out. Ridiculous. He didn’t miss a shift. Until he slashed Rafalski minutes later, apparently in retaliation. What a baby.

Power Play: The Wings put out some good work with the man advantage in this game. They sure had enough opportunities to. Price did a great job of holding them off, though. That said, the 5-on-3 was a little low in urgency. I guess, though, that was from confidence rather than tentativeness.

Datsyuk: Another great night from Pavel. His play to Lidstrom on the last second first period goal was perfect timing (though I should pause to give credit to Homer for digging the puck out originally), and his shot off the rush for his goal was wicked.

Cleary: Heck of a play to get it to Kronwall for Nik’s goal. More of that please.

First versus Second: My read after the first was that the Habs were the better of the two teams, though undisciplined. The stat sheet doesn’t bear that out in shots, but I mostly stand by it. I thought at even strength, the Habs were marginally more dangerous. In the second, the shots were closer, but the Wings seemed to totally dominate through puck possession.

Then the Third: This is the worrisome part. After a dominating period, to see the Wings come out so flat in the third was a disappointment. They held on in the end, but I’m still curious where that contrast comes from. The team needs to work on playing 60 minutes still.

Megan said to me this morning that she hopes they were holding something in reserve for tonight rather than hitting fatigue problems, and I mostly agree (though I hate to think they were holding back). I guess we’ll see.

Tonight: The Devils won three of four to finish November, but have since lost four in a row, so their troubles this season continue. They got Martin Brodeur back last night, so perhaps they’ll have a turnaround coming, but it didn’t start in Ottawa, where they lost 3-2. It’s possible/likely Brodeur will be in net tonight, but he should still have some rust to shake off. If that’s true, the Wings faced the better of two goalies of the back-to-back last night.

Chris Osgood starts for the Wings, so hope for offensive and defensive support, though if he plays like he did against LA, the team should be in solid shape.

The Wings need to think of the Devils as they were before this season and not take them lightly. As much trouble as they’ve had this year, New Jersey still has talent and can beat an unwary team. Here’s hoping the Wings flew to the Garden State intending to just take care of business and get out of there.

Game Day Open Thread: vs. Montreal

On one hand, you’ve got a team that’s won three in a row. On the other, a team that’s lost three. Both teams lead their Divisions and both teams could use the win. For both teams, there should be no trouble getting either team to bring their best to the ice.

It should be a great game. Ready for some Original Six hockey?

Wings 3, Canadiens 2 (SO)

Update (6:20 PM): Zetterberg quote fixed below. Brain cramps are debilitating… – Matt

First off, a Kronwall update: The latest today is that it’s a grade-2 or -3 sprain and that he’ll be out 2-3 weeks. However, that’s a preliminary diagnosis (possibly handed down by the training staff) and isn’t the final one. He has to go through more tests today.

Second, a Laraque response: The AP quotes him as saying,

“There were four refs [sic] on the ice and they didn’t call anything. If they called a match penalty it would be different. There was no intent. There was no reason why I would try to go and hurt him. It was a pure accident, that’s why they called it tripping, so I’m not worried at all.”

Sorry, Georges, but you may have something to worry about. My wife pointed out that the NHL seems more likely to hand out suspensions when the refs don’t call the play to the full extent. Had he gotten a match penalty that early in the game, there’s a decent chance the NHL would have considered that to be enough of a punishment. As it stands now, however, he could be facing a game or two.

Third, the Wings’ response: To the hit that is, and I don’t mean to the media (predictably condemning). On the ice, the Wings didn’t respond in spectacular fashion—in fact, aside from the immediate aftermath through the power plays, much of the rest of the game was frustratingly flat on their part—but they managed to battle through the loss of their #3 defenseman and pull a win out of the fire in a very unfriendly environment. That counts for something.

Now for the negative: Was it just me or did Nick have a weak game? His pass around the boards that led to the tying goal was very uncharacteristic and the main reason that goal happened. I know some of you want to blame Lebda on that play, but Nick’s pass was so weak, there’s no way Lebda could have gotten to it before the Montreal forward.

Zetterberg let the team down with a weak defensive play on Cammalleri at the actual point of scoring the goal, but the trigger to the whole thing was Nick’s pass around the boards. He also had some moments at the offensive blueline that were unsettling. He’s allowed the occasional off night, but it’s still disconcerting.

Bertuzzi: I’m completely out of patience for the guy. He’s dragging Datsyuk down to average player level with his black hole of suck. That is the real tragedy of the Filpulla and Franzen injuries and even the Williams injury. If any one of those guys were healthy, we could be watching Datsyuk thrive with one of them as a winger rather than Todd “Dead Weight” Bertuzzi.

How horrifying was it to see him quarterbacking the second power play unit in the first period? Ugh.

Zetterberg: Quote of the night:

“The puck was nightnot my friend all the way in.”

Referencing his battling a bouncing puck all the way in on his shootout chance. I guess he and the puck worked out their differences as he won the game on that shot.

Next up: The Wings’ll be in Nashville on Monday. The game will be aired on the Darren McCarty Television Network.

Game Day Open Thread: @ Montreal

Update (1:26 PM): Correction on Markov’s name below. Stupid brain cramp on my part.

Also, vp notes in the comments that Scott Gomez and Travis Moen left the game early last night. No official word on their status for tonight yet. – Matt

Busy sports day, so no full notes post. Just a few comments:

… Both teams played last night, so tiredness for the Wings will be no excuse.

… The Canadiens won their game against Washington, which is a good indication of what their capable of despite their 11-11-0 record.

… The Wings never really hit their stride last night against a Florida team that’s better than their record indicates. They’ll have to find it tonight.

… Jimmy Howard gets the start for the Wings and it looks like Carey Price will be in net for Montreal. The Wings’ll have to give Price (or Halak, if he starts) more substantive work than they gave Clemmensen last night.

… Montreal has a pretty significant injury list: Danny Andre Markov (ankle), Brian Gionta (foot), Hall Gill (foot), and Matt D’Agostini (concussion). But they got a couple guys back last night: George Laraque (upper body) and Ryan O’Byrne (lower body).

… The Wings’ injury list is no less significant, but you already know that. Imagine what this game could be with everyone healthy.

So, will the Wings step it up tonight? Will that mysterious Original Six magic mean both teams come to the rink to compete at their best?